Xenia Moseley

Design and craft has vigorously changed and adapted to the attitudes of the now and for this reason it has seen a current resurgence. Xenia Moseley is a designer/maker trained at Brighton University, who uses British skills and material as a cornerstone of her artistry. Her current project is entitled “Journey Women”, citing its inspiration from the word “Journeyman”. Which literally means an apprentice who moves from one town to another, gaining an experience of different workshops. Considered an original way to learn a trade whilst developing character, experiencing community, life and travelling. Xenia has done just that, travelling down the River Ouse, East Sussex, in search of the traditions that are still being practised today.

It’s all very good embarking on a journey like this a few hundred years, but to start it now, explore and export it through the ways of today, is something else. It is not only poetic to yearn for the handmade but it was once essential.

Xenia’s trip was fruitful, she visited and studied the skills of a wool spinner, cobbler, boat builder, basket weaver and upholster. Thus Xenia was able to create a boat that celebrated the crafts she had learnt and symbolises an on-going journey. Its a manifestation of the materials and craft methods encountered, transformed into a useful object that’s also a metaphor of collaboration and learning that is alternate to our entrenched, modern systems.

Xenia’s trip raises questions about our attachment to the objects that populate our habitats. The manner of buying attractive objects in comparison to making them with our bare hands or knowing who did, makes life today a fountain of choices. Xenia’s work projects a yearning for a milder way of life and a merit on making it yourself.

You can check out Xenia’a Links

www.xeniamoseley.co.uk

www.journeywoman.co.uk

Sylvia Moritz

Sylvia Moritz has never strayed from artistic disciplines, having studied Graphic Communication from an early age at Die Graphische in Vienna. Encouraged by her college tutors to cross borders, the multi-media artist and designer flew the nest at 19 en route to America. Here she discovered a lot about herself and her discipline, studying Illustration in Boston, and partaking in a six-month printmaking course in San Francisco.

On the back of a range of practical and industrial skills acquired from her travels, Sylvia enrolled at the University of the Arts London. In 2012, she found herself back in America on an erasmus exchange programme, this time showing The Big Apple what she was made of, in a six-month intensive at The Parsons New School for Design. She made the most of state of the art facilities, gaining advanced knowledge in branding and packaging design from peers such as Lance Wyman (Mexico ’68) as well as honing her illustrative expertise, mentored by reportage fanatic Veronica Lawlor.

The Austrian is an advocate of both the use of traditional and digital techniques that work hand-in-hand with one another, and such an ideal is conveyed in a lot of her work. Observations of Moritz’s surroundings play a vital role in shaping the direction of her practice. Usually with underlying environmentalist attitudes, her stunning mark-making qualities display a meticulous attention to detail and an enviable dedication to the creative arts. She continues to develop her style and relentlessly pushes herself to improve with every project she participates in. And the hard work has paid off, recently winning a Best of Year award with the D&AD for a project with the V&A.

Sylvia must be congratulated on her immaculate level of craft, her delicately balanced tone and liberating colour combinations. In the main image we capture an insight into her exotic amalgamation of geometric elements that satisfy the eye hypnotically – a feat of technical excellence comparable to that of the late and respected Escher. One can only hope that Sylvia continues to lead us on inspiring journeys through her labyrinthian creations. I have full confidence that she will.

 

 

 

Creative Graduates from Edinburgh Napier University

Last sunny weekend I visited Edinburgh Napier’s University Creative Degree Show 2013. I hadn’t been before but as the underdog of creative university’s in Edinburgh there was a certain number of graduates that caught my eye. Main image – Product Designer Aimi Robertson, Bottom Images – Graphic Designer Sam Dexter.

Aimi Roberston is a graduate in Product Design with a love for furniture design and restoration. Lucky enough to have been on exchange in China for 5 months last year she has great experience and has a fun approach to her work as a designer. Her degree project shows a love for Scottish Industry using Harris Tweed in an interior context. It’s quirky use of Harris Tweed shows the traditional fabric in a new light.

Originally from Inverness Aimi has shown her Scottish roots by using the iconic Scottish Harris Tweed jacket in a bespoke piece of furniture taking direct influence from the jacket with the 2 pocket detailing on the sofa with a modern twist. The bespoke piece has a strong historic narrative showcasing Harris Tweed’s history yet comments on Harris Tweed’s recent resurgence. The sofa uses high class materials yet is designed to be extremely flexible and I can see it fitting nicely within people’s homes. It is a great take on the traditional and ties in nicely with the current handmade market with consumers seeking out hand made, quality items rather than mass made. Aimi’s branded her idea really well even down to the traditional bottle of whisky in the sofa’s pocket!

Sam Dexter‘s ‘Red Letter Day Project’ motion graphic piece informs the public about a particular event that is important to the history of Edinburgh. With an interest in philosophy and ethics, Sam chose the birth of the philosopher David Hume and his theory called the ‘Induction Fallacy’. As Sam explained to me ‘Induction Fallacy’ theory implies that nothing in our world can be predicted. In the stop frame animation she communicates this theory-which would usually be quite hard to understand- in a humorous way using dominoes, similarly tumbling but with one rogue domino breaking the rules in an extraordinary way! As her first stop-frame animation and using 112 dominoes Sam’s made this animation with perfect detail and you can watch it here. Sam said that what she likes about graphic design is that ‘you can communicate with the audience on so many different levels and make a subject like The Induction Fallacy something quite light hearted and easy to grasp. I like to think my work is light hearted and uplifting. Since this project a lot of my work has been motion graphic based, I really enjoy film and projects that involve interaction and involvement with the public…’. Her attention to detail is incredible! Make sure you have a look at her ‘Red Herring Route’ intervention project which made people in Edinburgh look, and see, the city differently from usual.

Good luck to both Aimi and Sam!

 

Can you make a silk purse from a sow’s ear?

Aztec triangles, Labrador lockets, Scottish thistles, Stags and Octopus earrings…. sound amazing?! They are just a few items that Eilidh Strang hand makes under her business ‘Silk Purse, Sow’s Ear’. Her jewellery has popped up recently in almost every boutique shop in Edinburgh and is the essential, unique item for every girls jewellery box.

With no formal jewellery training, I’m amazed at the craftmanship behind Eilidh’s designs and production. Using mainly vintage materials – found and reworked – many of her items are limited runs or ‘one of a kind’. My favourites are the ‘Scottish Thistle Locket’ a perfect keepsake of Scotland, the Seafoam Triangle Earrings and the Swallow brooch (see images). She has something to suit all tastes from floral studs, Moroccon influenced rings to personalised lockets.

I asked Eilidh some questions about her work, her inspiration and her success…

What is your inspiration for your jewellery?

 My inspiration tends to be picturing the different ways that my jewellery can be worn.  I especially love the idea of my jewellery being ‘bunged on’ with an old jumper and jeans, without having to be dressed-up or styled particularly.  When I imagine my jewellery being worn by women, it’s always in a really casual, day to day way.  The idea of a lion brooch or frog locket making an everyday outfit just a little bit different is inspiring to me.

Was it easy to get your business started?

Fairly easy.  I’ve had quite a strong sense of where I’m going with my designs, and ethos more generally, from the beginning which I think helps enormously.  For instance, while I can see the beauty and simplicity in very delicate, silver jewellery, I still recognise that it’s not where I want to go with Silk Purse, Sow’s Ear.  Things have also grown fairly slowly and steadily since I started out, which has given me the chance to keep up!

How do you see your business progressing?

For the moment, I am happy carrying on as I am.  From the beginning I have operated by making the most of every opportunity I can, and just see where it takes me – I will definitely continue to do this and see where I end up!  For me, the most important thing is having the freedom to design and introduce new designs on an ongoing, weekly basis, rather than being restricted to a couple of ‘collections’ a year.  From the very beginning this has been a really important thing for me because it keeps things fresh and interesting – for me and my customers.  Selling online and in small, independent boutiques is ideal for this way of working, and I’m really happy with it!

What is your favourite piece?

At the moment, my favourite design is my Bee Hive Necklace (below). It just incorporates the two areas of design that I love best – clean, classic and wearable geometric shapes, with little element of fun to make it worth talking about. 

What would you say your biggest success so far is?

One of my proudest moments to date was being asked to sell in the Fashion and Textile Museum, London.  I’ll freely admit I did a lap of honour round my living room that day!

Seek out a one off item for yourself at www.silkpursesowsear.com or at Eilidh’s Etsy shop

You can also follow her on Twitter and  Facebook to keep up to date with new listings as Eilidh seeks new materials, vintage items and shares her quirky ideas.

 

 

Sour Cherry

Sour Cherry are a small independent jewellery company based in Sheffield who specialise in fun and quirky designs that are jam-packed with character. The adorable, affordable accessories are all designed and handmade by owner Kayleigh Walker and, because they are either produced from scratch or adapted from recycled items, are all guaranteed to be distinctive and unique.

Kayleigh works with a range of materials, including laser-cut plastic, shrink plastic, glass beads and ceramics, and the diversity of her designs is simply astonishing: just scrolling down the necklace section of the websites, you’ll be able to spot foxes, teacups, bananas, Pacman, gameboys, Russian dolls, cameras, keys, sewing machines, owls, James Bond, Liquorice Allsorts, glasses, elephants, Wayne’s World and bourbon biscuits. And that’s not even all of them, I’ve just run out of breath.

In the unlikely event you can’t find the design you want, you can even commission your own – contact Sour Cherry with the idea for your design and they’ll try and create it for you. Bloomin’ marvellous.

Bright, bold and bags of fun, and at prices not to put a dent in your wallet, Sour Cherry’s designs are hand-crafted delights. If you don’t have one, your wardrobe is lacking. Sort it out, why don’t you?

To check out the full range of Sour Cherry designs, or to commission your own, visit the website. Alternatively, follow them on Facebook or Pinterest.

Gee & Tea

I love Gee & Tea for three reasons:

1) They’ve got a pun in their name.

2) That pun involves tea, which is not only my favourite drink, but my favourite thing in the world full stop.

3) They make truly awesome jewellery and crafts.

And though I could go on for days about the excellent properties of tea, it’s the third reason that I’d like to explain to you in a little more detail.

Gee & Tea is the craft collaboration of Gemma Bolton, Kathryn Broughton, Sarah Hunt & Aimi Liversidge. Based in Sheffield, these four ladies between them specialise in creating all kinds of wonderful things, including necklaces and other accessories, greeting cards, mittens, homewares, bags of all shapes and sizes and even gorgeous 50s-style lace knickers. Everything is unique and beautifully handcrafted, and all the products have a distinctive daintiness about them, incorporating beautiful fabrics and innovative designs. The range is expanding all the time too – for instance, budding photographers out there should know that there is camera bag in vintage colours being developed for you as I type.

If you live in Sheffield, you can find Gee & Tea at the Nichols Building craft and vintage centre, or out and about at craft fairs across the city. If you don’t live in Sheffield, pop over to their website and have a look at a selection of their lovely things on there. Wherever you are, you can follow them on Twitter @geeandtea or on Instagram too for your fix of handmade goodness.

– Georgie

Memo

Memo is the working alias of Helen Entwisle, graduate of the Norwich School of Art and Design and now a freelance designer and screen printer living in Leeds. Her range of work encompasses limited edition prints, greeting cards, self-published ‘zines (she puts together a collaborative ‘zine entitled “Ten Fingers”), tote bags, hand-printed stationary and accessories. So no small range then.

Memo’s designs are quirky and playful, and embody a sense of fun and good-humour. They feature everyday objects such as radios, cameras, typewriters, ducks, and sweet, good-humoured messages like “coffee is good for your brain” and “nice to see you” accompanied by a sketch of a pair of spectacles. My especial favourite is “you float my [drawing of a boat]”.  In short, Memo’s designs are bright, homely and full of character.

If Memo’s designs tickle your fancy too, and you’d like to have a greeting card or two for your very own, visit her stores on either Etsy or Not On The High Street. You can find out more about her via her own website.

– Georgie

Finest Imaginary

Finest Imaginary make jewellery with a difference. The brainchild of Kim Lawler, it began as her evening and weekend hobby but proved to be so popular that she is now able to create her unique accessories full time. With a preference for birds, beasts, monsters and make-believe, Finest Imaginary’s pieces are enough to bring an air of colour and playfulness to any wardrobe choice.

Finest Imaginary’s pieces are largely made from engraved Perspex, though they are also increasingly working with etched wood. The delightful rings, necklaces, earrings and broaches come in an astonishing range of designs: books, bears, campfires, clouds, foxes, ninjas and Mexican wrestlers to name but a handful. As well as jewellery, Finest imaginary also offer cards, tees , stationary and prints, and like the jewellery these all too come in a range of fun and quirky designs.

To check out Finest Imaginary’s designs for yourself, visit her website. Just don’t buy the wooden fox pendant – I’ve already called dibs.

– Georgie